JONATHAN CHAIT NOVEMBER 9, 2010
The junior Kentucky Senator-elect is a fascinating character. He has deep roots in paleolibertarianism and obviously comes to politics out of an ideological sensibility rather than careerism. Yet his transformation from ideological crusader to hack pol is the most astonishingly rapid sellout I've ever seen. First he just refuses to discuss his beliefs about anything. Then he assures the neocons and Aipac that he won't give them trouble on defense or foreign policy. Now he says he'll fight for his fair share of pork:
He now avoids his dad's talk of shuttering the Federal Reserve and abolishing the income tax. In a bigger shift from his campaign pledge to end earmarks, he tells me that they are a bad "symbol" of easy spending but that he will fight for Kentucky's share of earmarks and federal pork, as long as it's doled out transparently at the committee level and not parachuted in in the dead of night. "I will advocate for Kentucky's interests," he says.
Let me be clear: I think Paul's views are almost completely nutty and reprehensible. It's a good thing, on balance, that he's selling them out. My whole point pertains to the shameless rapidity of the sell-out. He hasn't even taken office yet!